We Remember

I’m always amazed at how things line up. In the hospital, you might switch days with a coworker, and you end up with a life changing patient. You might be covering for someone on your team while they are off, and you end up meeting the needs of a patient you would have other wise never met. It happens all the time.

In other instances, you may make plans months in advance, never knowing what the day will bring. You schedule a flight, only to have it cancelled due to weather. You buy tickets to a concert, and end up with a stomach bug. You sign up to run a race, and you need surgery. We just never truly know.

Today, we celebrated the lives of children who passed away this year at my hospital. It’s an annual tradition that brings hope and comfort to our families. It helps bring closure to staff members, and it allows us to be humans, rather than stoic scrub-clad healthcare workers. We get the opportunity to pray with families, sing with them, and remember.

Today, my step dad remembers the life of his father. A World War II veteran who fought for our country and saved the lives of many of his fellow soldiers. He lived to be 97, yet the thought of his time at war still brought tears to his eyes. He always welcomed us to the table to share a meal at his favorite restaurant. He loved his town. Today, we remember.

Today, our country remembers the life of Barbara Bush. Always the class-act, in her pearls and signature blue, she inspired many women to succeed. I remember my own grandmother, as I wear her pearls today, too. What strength it took to represent our country as the First Lady and later, the mother of a President. We don’t have to think too hard about how her hair became so white. She loved her family well, and will continue to inspire others to follow in her footsteps.

When our team planned the memorial service this year, we had no way of knowing what else we would be remembering today. We didn’t know if the weather would be rainy or gorgeous. We couldn’t have predicted who would be sick or who would have a last-minute emergency. We didn’t know who would come. But God did.

God knew today would be a day of remembrance. He asks us to remember, and so we reflect and remind ourselves of His goodness. We look through pictures of the people we love, who smiled and, in return, made us grin from ear to ear. We remember the stories-some we can tell, some we can’t. We remember their struggles and rejoice that they are over, new forms of grief taking their place.

Why do we need to remember? The Bible asks us to remember His covenant. In 1 Corinthians 11: 23-26, it says:

For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: On the night when he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, broke it, and said,“This is my body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, and said, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. (CSB)

We must remember what the Lord has done for us. He gave His life so that we might live. If we don’t remember that, then we will not follow His law. If we don’t remember that, we will end up in a life that looks nothing like Jesus’.

God created our minds for remembering, and He lines things up so we will do just that. Psalm 8:3-4 says, “When I observe your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars, which you set in place, what is a human being that you remember him, a son of man that you look after him?” (CSB)

Did you catch that? He remembers us, as well. Just as we love Him because He first loved us (1 John 4:19), we remember Him, because He first remembered us.

When everything seems to be lining up in a crazy way, on those days where it seems almost like the plot line to a TV drama, ask God what He’s trying to show you. Today, I’m remembering- precious lives, His goodness, laughter, and family. Coincidence isn’t really something I believe in, but I wholeheartedly look to the One who is orchestrating this life I’ve been given.

I Gave Up Social Media for Lent

…And I didn’t die! The world didn’t end! My life, as I know it, continues!

Forty-five days of no Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Snapchat. Forty-five days to pray in place of those things. Forty-five days away from status updates, retweets, likes, view counts, and posts. Has it been hard? Yes. Has it been freeing? Yes. Have I prayed the same amount of time I would have spent online? If I’m honest? No.

So what have I done? I’ve spent more time taking pictures for my own memories instead of a tally of thumbs up. I’ve read a lot of books. I’ve watched movies with my family without distractions. I’ve talked with my husband about theology. I’ve paid attention to Hudson’s baseball games. I’ve played and chatted with Harrison while he took his baths. I’ve prayed for my neighbors when I thought about missing something online. I’ve loved people better in real life. Maybe it’s because I didn’t know what they had for lunch and we could have actual conversations about their days. Maybe it’s because it’s easier to love someone when you aren’t annoyed with his or her grammar.

The break was both good and difficult. I know I have missed birthdays, pregnancy announcements, birth announcements, clear scan announcements, inside jokes, hilarious videos, wedding pictures, friend requests, and more. My fear of missing out had to take a back seat. People in my life made sure I was kept up to date. A lot of stories began with “Did you see… Oh wait! You’re off Facebook, let me tell you…” I had actual conversations, y’all! I truly think I’ve been more grateful in the moment. I’ve compared less. I haven’t sought validation from a thousand people I may or may not know on a real basis. I haven’t sold a single book on Amazon since January. But, the beat goes on.

Last year, our church fasted from various things for Lent, and we saw amazing things happen. This year, I can’t say I’ve seen the fruits of our labor in such a clear way, but I fully believe we’ve planted seeds for the harvest. Regardless of results, the discipline of sacrificing is not wasted. We’ve sacrificed with purpose, and we’ve replaced, at least a little, with God.

So what do I do now? Do I continue to check social media like it’s my job? Do I go back to draining my phone battery by 8pm each day? I hope not. I intend to be more intentional with my online time. I don’t need to check each outlet incessantly. I don’t need to post everything I do. My online presence will take a backseat to my real life presence.

I know it’s not the norm to step away from social media. It may be weird or boring to some, but maybe it’s okay to be boring. Romans 12:2 tells us, “Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God” (CSB). In other words, Christians aren’t supposed to look like everyone else.

Galatians 1:10 is an excellent reminder to base our actions on what pleases God versus what pleases men. “For am I now trying to persuade people, or God? Or am I striving to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ” (CSB). You just can’t do both.

Some final food for thought:

But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out. If we have food and clothing, we will be content with these. (1 Timothy 6:6-8 CSB)

So let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord. (2 Corinthians 10:17 CSB)

I really do love connecting on social media, but I have to look at it as an outlet, not my power source. I’ve learned over the last forty-five days that my time can be better spent, but I can also use some of my time wisely on social media. There are a lot of benefits to being on these apps/websites, but as in everything, it’s my heart behind it that matters. As the Bible tells us, “Humans do not see what the Lord sees, for humans see what is visible, but the Lord sees the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7 CSB). I hope to use these outlets with a pure heart, basing my identity on who God says I am, instead of basing it on a number and using my time for true connection, rather than mindless scrolling.

By the way, if you need me, I’ll be checking my 247 notifications and eating Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs.